We seem to be in the midst of a titanic economic upheaval — and I do mean “titanic” in several senses of the word, if you’re picturing a certain maritime disaster — running oddly parallel with rapid technological advances. It’s like we’re going backward and forward at the same time. Jobs are vanishing, perhaps forever. But hey, is there an app for that?
I envision a world where work, as we know it today, is obsolete. It will start with companies reaching the point where, to stay competitive, they make everybody work from home — you know, so they don’t have to go to the expense of renting, furnishing, supplying and insuring offices. Employees will be thrilled with this. Commute traffic will thin and, eventually, disappear. Everyone will work in sweats (winter) and shorts (summer). New etiquette rules will be adopted — silence, please, in the parks and on the beach, to accommodate those who are working! I imagine we will soon be so interconnected that anyone can reach anyone at any time, so regular work hours will be meaningless. No more eight-to-five routine. No more separating “work” from “life.”
There are some pretty obvious down sides to all this. It’s already increasingly difficult for people to protect their leisure time. Cell phones are simultaneously freeing and caging us. It’s great to be reachable wherever you are — until the moment when it sucks to be reachable wherever you are.
I like to think of future generations looking back at us in pity and wonder. “How could they stand it?” — The way we look back at the drudgery of bygone eras. ‘Work clothes’ — what a concept! And why did they call it ‘rush’ hour when nothing was moving? How quaint it will seem.
Meanwhile, I have a job. And with every day that goes by, I become more appreciative of Virginia Woolf’s insistence that every writer needs “a room of one’s own.” When I wrote full-time, I had that. Now? Not so much. I’m never alone, except when I’m driving. At ‘rush’ hour.
I don’t hate my job, but it’s exhausting. At night I sit numbly beside my equally-exhausted husband. He watches TV. I play games on Facebook. Both of us are recharging our batteries before heading back into the fray the next morning.
I stay up way too late, then go to bed and lie there, mind racing, unable to sleep, berating myself for not writing. How do women with children write?? It’s the most I can do to play Scrabble at night, and I only have cats.
They tell me Georgette Heyer relied on dexadrine. I’d settle for a day in my sunroom now and then.